Some years ago I stood beside Thomas Lüdke of the 1980ies Electro band "The Invincible Spirit" in the backstage area of a festival near Berlin, when he talked to an elderly looking guy with a bald patch. This guy, who appeared suspiciously like a bank clerk during leisure time, told him with an enthused face that he grew up with his music - and I was really amused to see how Thomas' smile started to freeze. Yes, time is inexorably. Three or four years later it was my smile that froze. After our show in Rome a young woman told me that she prefers to listen to that old music from the 1990ies - just like ours. And then she asked me what my initial spark was to make such kind of music - in those old days. Which was a really good question.
When my school buddy Kai Kampmann and I started our first project (named T:H:E) in 1985, New Wave was already absorbed by the public - but its darker side was still peculiar for "normal" people. Since the Darkwave scene was pretty small in our hometown, everybody was welcome to join the club. Unlike today there did not exist any rules how you have to be or how you have to act. No dresscode, just creativity. We saw ourselves as a group of individuals, united by a common perception - and by the confusion of our enviroment. Our teachers sneered at our weird haircuts, our classmates regarded wearing black clothes even in summer as totally stupid and my parents were a bit concerned about the fact that I used kohl. And that I ran around in a black pyjama for quite a while (according to that line in the Adam & The Ants' song "Prince Charming": 'ridicule is nothing to be scared of'), did not make it easier for them. We thought we were real underground and enjoyed being different. And with exactly that attitude we created quite simple tunes with melancholic lyrics, inspired by bands like The Cure or Joy Division, based on a borrowed drum machine, a guitar, a bass and a cheap monophonic synth. We did not know anything about songwriting nor did we care about it. We did not take it seriously, it was just fun with sad faces. One day we saw an advert of a recording studio called Andromeda, which offered a whole recording day for just 200 Deutschmarks. So we took some friends with us and entered that cellar studio one sunny morning to record our first demo songs. Which seemed to be a bad idea at first. Those two rock musicians, who ran that studio, could not do anything with our music. In their eyes we were just some bumbling school boys with childish ideas - and of course they were right. They grumbled that our songs would be too monotonous, too whistful and without any catchy hooks. They told us what we should do to get a proper tune and it was not very easy to defend our loose conception against permanent interferences when they were justified by the reference to a long-standing experience. But strangely enough: the more we had to argue, the more we got convienced about the way we wanted to have it. And in the end they gave in and just recorded - grudgingly - what we were doing. Of course the songs sounded really poor, but they were our songs. And I think that was the point when I knew that this kind of music was more to me than just a fashion or a juvenile quirk. Who cares about perfection and exterior expectations when you find your own emotions in something you create? And when I went home after the recordings I stood at a bus stop and a woman pointed at me and said to her 8 or 9 years old son that he would end up like me if he would not make more efforts in school. Yes, that was a great day...